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The Role Of The North-East Region in INM

The Role Of The North-East Region in INM

Context:- The participation of the Northeast in India’s freedom struggle spans back to the 19th century, characterized by remarkable valor and courage. This region witnessed a series of uprisings against British rule and staunch resistance by its indigenous hill communities. While the mainstream political events across the country led to India’s Independence in 1947, the North-East played a crucial and supportive role in this journey.

Historical Context of British Occupation

The British gained control over the Northeast region starting with the occupation of Assam in 1826, following a decade of Burmese rule.

  1. Ahom Revolt (1828): Gomdhar Konwar led a rebellion against the British, triggered by their failure to withdraw after the first Burma War as promised.
  2. Resistance in the Hills: Hill tribes, notably the Khasis under U Tirot Sing (1829-1833), fiercely resisted British expansion into their territories.
  3. Challenges to British Expansion: Between the 1830s and 1860s, various hill tribes such as the Singphos, Khamtis, Nagas, and Garos posed significant challenges to British expansionist policies, causing substantial setbacks.

Uprisings and Movements

The struggle in the North-East took various forms, including peasant uprisings and constitutional movements:

  1. Phulaguri Uprising (1861): A revolt against oppressive agricultural policies in the Nagaon district marked a new era of peasant protest in Assam.
  2. Assam Riots and Peasant Suppression: Protests against increased land revenue culminated in violent clashes, notably the brutal suppression at Patharughat. Subsequently, the Assamese elites rallied under the “Sarbajanik Sabha” to address problems through non-violent means.
  3. Political Mobilization: The “Assam Association” paralleled the Indian National Congress, pursuing constitutional methods to address grievances and gaining representation in the Legislative Council.

Connection with National Movements

The Northeast’s involvement with broader national movements and leaders significantly influenced its course toward independence:

  1. Influence of National Movements: The region responded strongly to national movements like the Rowlatt Act protests, the Jallianwala Bagh massacre, the Khilafat Movement, and Gandhi‘s Non-Cooperation Movement, impacting the younger generation.
  2. Gandhi’s Visit and Impact: Gandhi’s visit in 1921 left a considerable impression on Assamese leaders and the masses, drawing attention to police atrocities and leading to investigations.
  3. Leaders and Movements: Leaders like Gaidinliu among the Zeliangrong Nagas and later figures like Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed played significant roles in the freedom struggle.
  4. Quit India Movement (1942): Assam actively participated in the Quit India Movement, with both peaceful and disruptive activities occurring, symbolized by figures like Bhogeswari Phukanani and sacrifices like that of Kanaklata.
  5. Fight against Partition: Gopinath Bordoloi’s unwavering efforts, with support from tribal leaders, prevented Assam from being wrongly grouped with East Pakistan after Partition.
  6. Symbolic Gestures: Figures like Moje Riba hoisting the tricolor in Arunachal Pradesh signified the region’s aspirations for independence and integration into India.

While history has often overlooked the North-East’s role in India’s independence, these accounts illustrate its significance and the enduring impact of its leaders in shaping the unified India we know today.

Read Also: Indigo Revolt in Bengal

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